Huge chunks of Porphyr in the Niederhäuser Klamm

New from the Nahe: Von Racknitz

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Today we're happy to introduce Weingut Von Racknitz, a Nahe producer that has never before been sold in the United States. Winemaking here goes back a very, very long time; a monastery was founded here in the 6th century and monks likely planted vines in the 11th. It's been in the Von Racknitz family since 1753 and operating since 2003 in its current incarnation, under Louise Von Racknitz-Adams and Matthias Adams.

As soon as we heard about the wines, we knew we would want to work with them. A near-organic estate in the Nahe with choice vineyards and a minimalist cellar ethos? Sign us up! Matthias and Louise run in the same circles as some of our absolute favorites (they're good friends with Clemens and Rita Busch and we tasted the wines for the first time when Gernot Kollman hosted us all for dinner last May at Immich-Batterieberg). It's taken longer than we would have hoped to get the wines here but now they're in New York and we couldn't be happier.

Their main vineyard, the Disibodenberg, is a terraced slope just below the estate. They've also been buying up choice sites around the rest of the central Nahe, in such beloved villages as Niederhäusen, Schlossbockelheim, Oberhausen and Traisen (any of these sound familiar?) Picture the pretty, exotic wines you may know from the Nahe, a coolish region with a multitude of different soil types, (volcanic rock, loess and slate are all common here in combinations not found elsewhere); imagine those same wines raised in the non-interventionist manner similar to that of someone like Clemens Busch, and you start to get an idea what these wines are all about.

Each of the four wines we've brought in are dry Rieslings and we decided to offer a number of different vintages to paint a more comprehensive picture of the house style. There's an estate trocken, two multi-vineyard wines that are bottled based on soil type (either slate or volcanic rock) and a single-vineyard wine from the Niederhäuser Klamm. Naturally, we recommend you try one of each. -jfr

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Von Racknitz 2011 Nahe Riesling Trocken

A bone-dry, fresh and bright Riesling, perfect for every-day drinking or alongside simply prepared fish or other light dishes. While many entry-level wines are made from younger vines or lesser sites, this comes from some of the estate's finest vineyards with vines up to 60 years in age. These are the first grapes to be harvested and they're selected to produce an ideal, light and easy-going style. We expect to drink this by the bucketload this coming summer because although there's no sense of sweetness, it has plenty of fruit and charm. Best of all, as it was harvested so early, it avoids some of the overripe flavors that show up from time to time in 2011s -jfr

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  • white
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Von Racknitz 2008 Nahe Riesling Vulkangestein Trocken

Although we didn't get to taste this when it was bottled, it's found itself in a lovely place a few years on from the vintage. This is more a wine of texture than one of bombastic fruit flavors, though the fresh minerals that coat the palate on the long finish do give way, surprsingly, to a blossoming of broad apricot and citrus flavors. Very exciting stuff, and shows that it would bode very well to start laying down some of these and the single-vineyard wines to see where they go. Although the wines are closed by screwcap, sulfur usage is low here, and reduction isn't an issue. -jfr

 

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  • white
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  • $20.99

Von Racknitz 2010 Nahe Riesling Schieferboden Trocken

This comes from a blend of fruit from exclusively slate-sections of vineyards such as the Disibodenberg and the Hermannshöhle. It's much more delicate and floral than the spicier, more exotic volcanic wines also on offer. Bottled after resting for a year on the lees, it's bright, citrusy, clean to the point of resembling a pristine stream. The finish is sappy, grippy, lemony and mineral-laden. The high 2010 acids were well-managed by patience both before and after fermentation, giving the wine a chance to rest, rather than artificially removing the acid like some of their neighbors chose to do. -jfr

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  • white
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Von Racknitz 2010 Nahe Riesling Niederhäuser Klamm

Lovers of wine geography will be interested to know that Klamm is the nextdoor neighbor to the rather famous Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle and is made up of an even greater percentage of volcanic rock. Matthias Adams is actuely aware of the effects of global climate change and is interested in acquiring new plots in sites that were for many years seen as 'second best;' astutely obeserving that the traditional grand cru sites are resulting in riper and heavier wines. Seems like a smart gamble to us. The 2010 Klamm comes from four top plots with an average age of 55 years and was harvested early in Novmenber. The wine is a full, almost opulent dry Riesling with notes of straw, hay, minerals, and bold yellow citrus fruits. The straw-gold color of the wine and its firm amount of extract are evidence of Matthias and Louise's preference for extended pre-fermentation macerations on the skins. The finish is epic, with intense waves of flavor including smoke and lime, topped off by a steely, piquant exclamation point. Really interesting and contemplative wine that develops well over a few nights open. -jfr

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  • white
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  • $26.99